BY BANDINI • JUNE 7, 2018
The Digable Planets’ story is told in an episode of Unsung. The two-men-and-a-lady trio from three different cities would stretch to achieve Grammy success and respect within the Hip-Hop community at the same time. However, the collective of Seattle, Washington’s Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Silver Spring, Maryland’s Mariana “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira, and Philadelphia Pennsylvania’s Craig “Doodlebug” Irving only released two albums: 1993’s Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) and 1994’s Blowout Comb follow-up. They pulled the plug in 1995.
Having been back on the road for 13 years, the Planets are in orbit but not tampering with a two-for-two catalog. Save for a live album compilation, the trio has not added to its discography.
In Unsung, the story of forming the unlikely clique is rehashed. Ish recalls receiving a saxophone from his father in the fifth grade. Mecca explains her Afro-Brazilian heritage and political interests as a child. She describes Queen Latifah’s influence on her rhyming. Cee Knowledge, as Doodlebug is now known, began as a DJ before moving in front of the turntables.
The crew came together on the East Coast, first as Cee and Ish. Mecca, who was around but reportedly shy about her voice, would show off her rhyme skills, taking on the third spot. They recorded a demo that included breakout hit “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” and quickly attracted label interest, notably from former Motown Records exec Ruben Rodriguez’s Pendulum imprint.